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Bringing together research on textual representations of various forms of positive feeling in early modern Europe, this collection of essays highlights the diverse and nuanced cultural meanings of happiness and well-being in this period, which is often characterized as a melancholy age. Interdisciplinary methodological approaches—informed by emotion studies, affect theory, and the contemporary cognitive sciences—provide various frames for understanding how the period cultivated and theorized positive emotions, as well as how those emotions were deployed in political, social, and intellectual contexts. Pointing to the ways the binary between positive and negative might be inadequate to describe emotive structures and narratives, the essays promote analysis of new archives and offer surprising readings of some texts at the center of the Renaissance canon. In addition to an introduction that provides an overview of work in contemporary studies of positive emotions and historical accounts of good feeling in early modern Europe, the book includes three sections: 1) rewriting discourses of pleasure, 2) imagining happy communities, and 3) forms, attachment, and ambivalence. The essays focus on works by such writers as Burton, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Traherne, and Webster, as well as on other kinds of texts circulating in the period. While focused on English writings, essays on continental writers contribute to a wider context for understanding these emotions as European cultural constructions. Finally, the volume offers windows onto the complex histories of happiness, well-being, humor, and embodiment that inform the ways emotions are experienced and negotiated in the present day.

An anthology

This is a companion to Pastoral poetry of the English Renaissance: An anthology (2016), the largest ever collection of its kind. The monograph-length Introduction traces the course of pastoral from antiquity to the present day. The historical account is woven into a thematic map of the richly varied pastoral mode, and it is linked to the social context, not only by local allegory and allusion but by its deeper origins and affinities. English Renaissance pastoral is set within the context of this total perspective.

Besides the formal eclogue, the study covers many genres: lyric, epode, georgic, country-house poem, ballad, romantic epic, drama and prose romance. Major practitioners like Theocritus, Virgil, Sidney, Spenser, Drayton and Milton are discussed individually.

The Introduction also charts the many means by which pastoral texts circulated during the Renaissance, with implications for the history and reception of all Early Modern poetry. The poems in the Anthology have been edited from the original manuscripts and early printed texts, and the Textual Notes comprehensively document the sources and variant readings. There are also notes on the poets and analytical indices of themes, genres, and various categories of proper names. Seldom, if ever, has a cross-section of English Renaissance poetry been textually annotated in such detail.

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Reading the materials of English Renaissance literature

Formal Matters is intended as an exploration of the emerging and potential links in early modern literary and cultural studies between the study of material texts on the one hand, and the analysis of literary form on the other. The essays exemplify some of the ways in which an attention to the matter of writing now combines in critical practice with the questioning of its forms: how an interest in forms might combine with an interest in the material text and, more broadly, in matter and things material. Section I, ‘Forming literature’, makes literary and sub-literary forms its focus, examining notions of authorship; ways of reading, consuming, and circulating literary and non-literary material; and modes of creative production and composition made possible by the exigencies of specific forms. Section III, ‘The matters of writing’, examines forms of writing, both literary and non-literary, that grapple with other fields of knowledge, including legal discourse, foreign news and intelligence, geometry, and theology. At stake for the authors in this section is the interface between discourses encoded in, and even produced through, specific textual forms.Linking these two sections are a pair of essays take up the subject of translation, both as a process that transforms textual matter from one formal and linguistic mode to another and as a theorization of the mediation between specific forms, materials, and cultures.

Dan Geffrey with the New Poete

This is a much-needed volume that brings together established and early career scholars to provide new critical approaches to the relationship between Geoffrey Chaucer and Edmund Spenser. By reading one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages alongside one of the greatest poets of the English Renaissance, this collection poses questions about poetic authority, influence and the nature of intertextual relations in a more wide-ranging manner than ever before. With its dual focus on authors from periods often conceived as radically separate, the collection also responds to current interests in periodisation. This approach will engage academics, researchers and students of medieval and early modern culture.

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Historicism, whither wilt?
Christopher D’Addario

D’Addario: A sense of place 5 A sense of place: historicism, whither wilt? Christopher D’Addario It seems a reflection of the predominance of a particular brand of ­historicism, one rooted in an assumption of linear causality, even at times teleology, that a majority of monographs on early modern literature organise themselves chronologically. Indeed, we can begin to recognise how firmly this assumption still sits at the centre of much historicist thinking if we attempt to imagine a study with an entirely different set of organising principles, one that

in Texts and readers in the Age of Marvell
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Cora Fox, Bradley J. Irish, and Cassie M. Miura

Bailey and Mario DiGangi offer theoretical analyses of the convergences of the many areas of affect theory and studies of early modern literature in Affect Theory and Early Modern Texts: Politics, Ecologies, and Form . 17 As they note in their introduction, Brian Massumi, who is widely regarded as offering the definitional account of affect for modern critical theory, develops his theory from the writings of the late seventeenth-century scholar, Baruch Spinoza. As Massumi points out, Spinoza famously defined affectus

in Positive emotions in early modern literature and culture
Three lives of the chess-player in medieval and early-modern literature
John Sharples

1 Sinner, melancholic, and animal: three lives of the chess-player in medieval and early-modern literature At the margins From the arrival of chess in medieval Europe, the chess-player was a troubling figure, raising issues concerning sin, leisure, intellect, and emotion. The assumed Islamic origins of the game and its associations with a number of vices related to play pushed the chess-player into a marginal space in a society defined by Christian regulation and authority. Yet, in parallel, the chess-player and the game found secure footings within highly

in A cultural history of chess-players
John Yamamoto-Wilson

-Wilson 117 be talking today of ‘mirandolism’, rather than masochism, and scholars might deem it quite normal to trace its development from the end of the fifteenth century, rather than the middle of the nineteenth or, at most, the early eighteenth. This chapter will explore the motif of the captivating power of the woman’s gaze as part of a wider discourse of male anxiety in early modern literature, a discourse in which, as Nussbaum says in relation to Butler’s Hudibras, ‘Women use their sexual powers to make foolish men weak and feminine’ and the male becomes ‘a captive

in The hurt(ful) body
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Gendering the ugly subject
Naomi Baker

, the most notorious of all ugly characters in early modern literature, initially seems to contradict the model of the male Silenus. Apparently inhabiting an earlier universe where the material order is spiritually meaningful, Richard’s moral depravity appears to be inscribed in his hideous looks. Anne denounces him as a ‘foul devil’ and a ‘lump of foul deformity’, reading his body, as do other

in Plain ugly
Minds, machines, and monsters
Author: John Sharples

A chess-player is not simply one who plays chess just as a chess piece is not simply a wooden block. Shaped by expectations and imaginations, the figure occupies the centre of a web of a thousand radiations where logic meets dream, and reason meets play. This book aspires to a novel reading of the figure as both a flickering beacon of reason and a sign of monstrosity. It is underpinned by the idea that the chess-player is a pluralistic subject used to articulate a number of anxieties pertaining to themes of mind, machine, and monster. The history of the cultural chess-player is a spectacle, a collision of tradition and recycling, which rejects the idea of the statuesque chess-player. The book considers three lives of the chess-player. The first as sinner (concerning behavioural and locational contexts), as a melancholic (concerning mind-bending and affective contexts), and as animal (concerning cognitive aspects and the idea of human-ness) from the medieval to the early-modern within non-fiction. The book then considers the role of the chess-player in detective fiction from Edgar Allan Poe to Raymond Chandler, contrasting the perceived relative intellectual reputation and social utility of the chess-player and the literary detective. IBM's late-twentieth-century supercomputer Deep Blue, Wolfgang von Kempelen's 1769 Automaton Chess-Player and Garry Kasparov's 1997 defeat are then examined. The book examines portrayals of the chess-player within comic-books of the mid-twentieth century, considering themes of monstrous bodies, masculinities, and moralities. It focuses on the concepts of the child prodigy, superhero, and transhuman.